City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival – is the name inclusive?

Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney responds.

by Thang Ngo

In February, noodlies, Sydney food blog wrote an open letter to the City of Sydney arguing against calling the festival “Chinese” given it’s celebrated by other cultures, namely Vietnamese and Korean. I felt the name was not inclusive and is at odds with Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney’s record of fighting for “justice and inclusiveness”.

lion dance tet 2012

The Vietnamese community celebrates Lunar New Year in Sydney

The open letter argued against the exclusive “Chinese” New Year Festival name:

  • It’s divisive especially given residents of Korean and Vietnamese backgrounds make up a significant proportion of the City of Sydney’s constituents. Many are single students who should feel included and welcomed, not excluded.
  • Other councils are adopting a more inclusive “Lunar” New Year naming convention, City of Sydney is in the minority in using Chinese New Year
  • Lack of representation in the City of Sydney’s community Advisory committee: it appears like all 14 members of this advisory committee comes from a Chinese background

Read noodlies’ open letter in full.

Clover Moore’s response in full is here: City of Sydney response to Chinese New Year name.  Key points include:

“The festival’s name is historic, reflecting its origins in the Chinese community, when groups in Chinatown started organising it as a community event 17 years ago”

“… the City has invited other people from other cultures that celebrate Lunar New Year, notably the Korean and Vietnamese communities… Members of these communities have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback on the festival”

“This broadening of the Festival has prompted discussion about the Festival’s name which is still ongoing.”

“Neither the Chinese government nor Shenzhen provided financial support for the festival. The participation of performers from Shenzhen was wholly paid for by Shenzhen and the Chinese government. The involvement of selected Chinese provinces has no bearing on the naming of the festival.”

Your thoughts?

What do you think? Does the response adequately address the issues raised?

Reading the response do you think it adequately answers noodlies concerns?  Does it explain why “…discussion about the Festival’s name” is still ongoing?

Would love to know your thoughts.